As the lockout continues, here at Sox On 35th, we are working to bring you consistent White Sox pieces to read all throughout the offseason. One of the most exciting things we get to do is communicate with White Sox players themselves, and today, we are thrilled to bring you an interview with right-handed pitcher Lane Ramsey!
Ramsey, 25, is a reliever currently with the Charlotte Knights. He was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the White Sox out of the University of Oklahoma. Ramsey has only gotten better as time has gone on with the organization. He had his best – and craziest – season in 2021, where he pitched at three levels (A+, AA, and AAA) in the organization, going a combined 3-5 with a 4.73 ERA. He struck out 56 batters in just 47.2 innings, and he definitely caught the eye of Sox fans when Tread Athletics posted a video of him hitting 97.1 mph on the radar gun in a recent offseason session.
Ramsey was kind enough to take some time out to talk about his minor league experiences, current offseason plan, keys to a successful 2022 season, and more!
To start, can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself – where did you grow up, when did you start playing baseball, and when did you decide that you wanted to make a career out of it?
I grew up in Oklahoma City and lived there my whole life. I went to school at Oklahoma, which is about 45 minutes away from where I grew up, so OKC was pretty much the only place I’ve been up until I was drafted.
I started playing baseball at 3 and have been in love with sports since I can remember. I always knew I wanted to play professionally in one of baseball, basketball, or football but never knew which one. Growing up I thought basketball was gonna be the one I’d excel the most in (still my favorite sport). However, as I got older baseball started to take off and I fell in love with pitching and knew the opportunity would be there if I kept working.
The White Sox drafted you in the 23rd round of the 2018 Draft out of the University of Oklahoma. What was the experience of your draft day like – and does being a 23rd round draft pick give you a chip on your shoulder at all?
The draft was definitely stressful. You work so hard for a moment like that and waiting to hear my name called was the most anxious I’ve ever been. However, when my name was called by the White Sox it was about as fulfilling of a moment as I’ve had.
I’ve never been one to “have a chip on my shoulder”. I was thankful to be taken and just ready to get started. I think as a competitor, all you really want is a chance. You know deep down what you’re capable of and as long as you get that opportunity you know you’ll be ready and do everything you can to fulfill it. With that being said, I knew I had a tremendous opportunity to go do something special, and I’m still fighting for that and I’m just thankful to do it.
You had quite a wild season in 2021, playing across three levels (A+, AA, and AAA) within the system. How were you able to navigate such a wild season, and what were some of the most important lessons you learned in 2021?
3. 2021 was the most challenging year I’ve had in baseball. During the break in 2020 after the shutdown, my pitching coach back home in OKC (Jeff Bronkey) and I got to work extensively on stuff. I knew I was ready for the 2021 season after all the preparation we did. Starting in Winston, I was just happy to be playing again. That first month of the season felt like a blur. Then went to Birmingham after 4 weeks in Winston and had success there and was able to get to Charlotte in late July.
Navigating through three levels is definitely a challenge of its own outside of baseball, let alone the game itself. Luckily my wife Ashtyn was always there by my side. She was at every home game and constantly on the road with me, which made things so much smoother for the personal/mental grind of moving to three cities in the span of 2 months. The baseball side had its own challenges for sure. The jump from AA to AAA was definitely challenging and one that I’m so thankful I was able to experience last year. The game gets faster. And learning to slow it down and focus pitch to pitch was definitely something I took from the jump to AAA. I relied on too many fastballs, and definitely an adjustment that needs to be made and will be made in the future.
Recently, Tread Athletics posted a video of part of your off-season workout on Twitter. How have you built your offseason plan given the current situation within baseball, and what is the value you feel you’re gaining by incorporating Tread Athletics into your offseason plans?
Tread has been the best thing for me. I have a great support system there and it’s an environment that breeds competition. So many high-level arms that train there and we are constantly competing. It makes it a lot of fun.
This offseason hasn’t been much different than past offseasons as it pertains to how I’m approaching it. I’ve always wanted to come into Spring Training to win a job, rather than just use it to get ready. What’s so great about training at Tread is that you get a feel of competition/adrenaline every day you’re training. In past offseasons, I just haven’t had that and I believe it will make the transition to season easier. We’ve definitely made some mechanical adjustments, and I’m very excited about that. As far as the weight room goes, I’m doing a different style of lifting which has been challenging but fun. I’m really excited to see it all come together in 2022.
You currently find yourself on the doorstep of the major leagues as a AAA pitcher. What do you feel is the biggest step you still need to take to be ready for major league baseball – and how do you plan to make this step?
The next step is consistency. I know how dominant I can be and it just comes down to putting it all together night in and night out. I alluded to it earlier but as far as the pitching side goes, I need to do a better job of throwing more off-speed pitches. I often times fell in love with the fastball and tried to throw everything by hitters. Learning to hone that back and realize when to use certain pitches. I love my slider and had a ton of success with it last year. I just need to commit to throwing it more, and I definitely will next year.
Let’s set the stage: Guaranteed Rate Field, the bullpen door opens, and you’re walking out for your Major League debut. What song are you walking out to?
I’m probably the biggest Drake fan you’ll ever meet. I’ve had the same walkout at some point in the season since I was in high school. It’s called Cameras and it’s from his album called Take Care. It’s not a song that will get you hyped up (which I prefer). I’m already amped to go out and pitch, I don’t need more outside factors to get me going. Especially since I’ve had that as my song since high school, it definitely puts me into a comfort zone. You want to feel comfortable out on the mound and hearing that as I walk out to the mound at Guaranteed Rate Field for the first time will definitely calm the nerves.
To what – or whom – do you owe your success thus far throughout your career? What would you define as a “successful” 2022 season for yourself?
There are so many people that have shaped the success I’ve been able to have so far in my career. My parents have definitely had the biggest impact on my career. I actually almost quit baseball when I was younger because I wanted to focus on basketball and my Dad luckily did not let that happen. My dad has instilled a lot of toughness and resiliency in me and I’m forever thankful for that. My mom has always been by my side through this journey. For all the good there has been in this game for me, there have been plenty of down moments. My first call for any of those moments has been my mom and I’ve always left that phone call or talk feeling better than I did before. My wife Ashtyn has made this part of my baseball career so much better too. Like I said earlier, we moved to 3 different cities in the span of 2 months and she was right by my side through it all. Packing up and moving your lives isn’t easy, and she makes it look like it. Her support through everything doesn’t go unnoticed. I’ve had a great support system and there are so many other people I could name.
Lastly, is there a piece of advice you would share with younger players who are hoping to be where you are one day?
My one piece of advice is that learning from failures is the most important quality you can have in this game. The game has so many ups and downs and constantly learning from the downs is what allows you to continue to grow as a player and as a man. It goes further than just the game of baseball and I’m still continually learning. It’s okay to fail (as long as you fail while giving 100%). Take those moments of pain, frustration, disappointment, and sadness as a sign that you can grow and get better from it. It’s not an easy thing to do but if you can, you’re gonna have the opportunity to do some really cool things in this game.
On behalf of the entire Sox On 35th team, I’d like to thank Lane for taking some time out to answer these questions for us. He’s clearly a really easy guy to root for, and we wish him nothing but the best heading into the 2022 season. Hopefully, we’ll see him on the South Side in the not-too-distant future.
You can follow Lane on Twitter @LaneRamsey – go show him some support!
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Featured Photo: Minor League Baseball / Twitter